Metro Atlanta recovers from Snowjam 2014 as Temps Warm
1/31/2014, 3:56 p.m.
From The Associated Press and The Atlanta Voice.
ATLANTA — Hundreds of drivers were reunited with their abandoned cars and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered state employees back to work Friday as the metro Atlanta region rebounded from a winter storm that coated the area with snow and ice.
Many school districts throughout the metro area — including Atlanta, DeKalb and Fulton County — announced that they'd remain closed to students Friday, and Deal extended a state of emergency through to Sunday night.
MARTA resumed regular service on Friday after running very limited bus service on Thursday.
The State Patrol removed 147 vehicles abandoned by the expressways and state roads since the 9 p.m. deadline for drivers to remove them. Deal said the state would pick up the cost of the tow for those cars but only if they were along a state road.
The city of Atlanta will waive vehicle impound fees associated with the winter weather. Call the Atlanta Property Unit at 404-546-4330. Check with each city or county police department that you had to abandoned your vehicle.
Owners whose vehicles were towed can call 511. They should have their tag number and license ready in order to get that information.
The declaration was extended to allow the state to continue using certain resources to help local governments clear roads and deal with other storm-related issues, Deal said in a statement.
The governor and Director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Charley English, have taken responsibility for poor planning leading up to the storm.
English made an embarrassing statement at the first news conference when he said the traffic was that bad at 3 p.m. When Deal was asked by a reporter if he agreed, the governor responded, “No, I don’t.”
English took over from the last GEMA director who lost his job after bad preparation following the ice storm of 2011, the same week Deal was sworn into office.
"We did not make preparations early enough," Deal said at a news conference Thursday night. "I'm not going to look for a scapegoat. I am the governor. The buck stops with me."
Deal said he was first informed about the impending storm when he arrived at his office between 7:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Deal added that state agencies would do internal reviews and come up with revised protocols to respond to severe weather forecasts.
Mayor Reed told the Atlanta Press Club Friday that he will conduct a full review on how the city handled the snowstorm and in the further he will not wait on the state to decide if needs to shut the city down. The Weather Channel has also offered its assistance to the city in helping it make further decisions on impending storms.
Temperatures in the region were expected to reach the low 50s on Friday, which should help officials clear ice accumulations from local roads. Temperatures are expected to remain well above freezing and reach the low 60s Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.